The brutality of the self-styled Islamic State is causing immense suffering and instability in Iraq. The Kurdish Refugees fleeing to Turkey are one consequence of the brutality as is the murder of captives and the threat to carry out further murders.
Under international law the US are able to respond to requests for help from the Iraqi Government. In Syria there is a greater risk of civilian casualties from their intervention if it is not coordinated with the Syrian Government.
I voted against the UK’s involvement in the original invasion of Iraq. It was the failure to plan for the consequences of that invasion that has been the foundation for much of Iraq’s problems today. While the US can provide airpower they are right to build local coalitions of support to provide the ground troops. Ground troops are essential to the operation but must be drawn from the region if they are not to inflame matters.
Parliament must be asked to approve any decision to use UK forces in direct military action.
However if the opportunity arose to mount a rescue mission for any of the hostages that is a decision the Government would have to take in private for obvious reasons if it were to have any chance of success.
Here at home we all had the opportunity to vote on Scotland’s future last Thursday. I toured many of the main polling stations and observed the count for Aberdeenshire. I would like to thank all the staff and police who worked that day to ensure we had our say.
I would also like to pay tribute to the many people who volunteered to support the respective campaigns in getting their message across. The two year campaign certainly involved many people who had not previously engaged in normal elections.
Both sides agreed to respect the result and recognise the will of the Scottish people. The high turnout was a sign that most people recognised how important the issue was and unlike normal elections your vote counted the same wherever you lived.
In the end a clear majority voted no. This will obviously be a disappointment for the supporters of a yes vote and it will be important to heal divisions.
The scenes from Glasgow after the result were not representative of the vast majority of the country.
On both sides of the question people will have had their unique personal reason for voting the way they did. In a democracy it is the sum of those personal choices that gives us a decision. I hope the yes supporters can recognise that there was as much passion and love of Scotland amongst those voting no.
David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Milliband made a clear commitment to deliver further powers to the Scottish Parliament. As Nick Clegg has made clear they now need to deliver on that promise.
Downing Street has confirmed that the process of delivering further powers will not be held up by the need to sort out the consequences for decisions on matters affecting England.
They clearly want a quick decision about English issues, but are not allowing a delay on the English issue to undermine their promise to deliver in Scotland.
The First Minister talked before the referendum about respecting the will of the people of Scotland.
Having campaigned for so long for independence he is clearly upset, but he has to recognise that in a democracy people are entitled to disagree with him.